Coach Jeff Cook’s recruiting efforts as the new face of Penn State soccer aren’t going unnoticed.
The 2019 class, just Cook’s second of his tenure at Penn State, has been ranked as the 10th best class in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer in the early signing period.
The incoming class is made up of seven players, three of whom are ranked inside TopDrawerSoccer's top 100 recruits.
The two highest ranked players in the class is both come from the MLS side Philadelphia Union’s youth academy, where Cook coached before moving to Penn State.
Kris Shakes, a goalkeeper and Florida native, is the 59th ranked prospect in his class according to TopDrawerSoccer and has spent his last four seasons playing with the Union.
Center back Ben Ofeimu is ranked 65th in his class and has spent his last three years playing with fellow recruit Shakes at the Union Academy.
After bringing in freshman striker and leading goal scorer Jeremy Rafanello from the Union last offseason, Cook has used his connection to the academy to his advantage in his recruiting efforts with the Nittany Lions.
Alex Stevenson is the third recruit ranked in the top 100 at No. 98. Stevenson, a defender from Maryland, has spent time with the Baltimore Armour in the USSDA.
Cook has focused on bringing in defenders in this class with three of four of his starting back line from a season ago not returning for the 2019 campaign.
Ofeimu and Stevenson will likely both be competing for playing time come preseason in the fall.
Michael Gaines is another defender that Cook has secured from the state of Maryland. Gaines is a right back who has spent time most recently in the USSDA with the academy of MLS side DC United.
Kyle May and Andrew Privett are the two midfielders in the class, and May is the only in state recruit of the seven.
Liam Butts is the lone forward from the early signing period and is from Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Butts stayed in state to play for Atlanta United’s academy team in the USSDA and won a national title with the squad in 2016-17.